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mpvernon on 10/10/2009 at 02:05PM

Diablo Swing Orchestra - The Butcher's Ballroom

29dtllj.jpgWhen it comes to odd music, I don't shock easily but Diablo Swing Orchestra got even me off guard on its first listen. This Swedish ensemble has one of the freshest and most exciting sounds I've heard in a long time and they manage it through an insane combination of heavy metal, swing jazz, a traditional European music smorgabord, and a classical soprano voice that probably broke wine glasses in the studio. By the time I got through the first two tracks, I considered going to the emergency ward for the possibility of impending head explosion. There is an operatic feel throughout the tracks and an intensity that hold up marvelously through every musical twist. There are actually two vocalists, male and female, and these two work to good effect on "Rag Doll Physics", a weird cross between Wagner and Ozzy Osbourne. Just about when I thought my head might explode, soprano and guitar make love on the gorgeous ballad "D'Angelo". However if you really want to get the sense of this album start at the first track with "Balrog Boogie", a full-assault barrage of swing and metal that has to be heard to believe. Other tracks all have their surprises like the Raga influenced "Gunpowder Chant" and an epic "Zodiac Virtues". Finally, in case, you haven't received the message that no limits are spared, Diablo Swing exits with a marvelous "Pink Noise Waltz" that offers flute and violin solos among the metal barrage, swing overtones, and the operatic power of the vocal. Even though this album was originally released as a CD in 2007, it soars to the top of my best free online albums of 2009 list and I expect will stay there until the end of the year. (full album here or after the jump)



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